Spitz in the Park 2014
Spitz in the Park was born out of a wacky idea to extend the Southern Finnish Lapphund’s fun Lappylympics to the wider spitz community and the keeshond Club were brought into the idea to run as a joint venture. The subcommittee came from both societies and from a simple idea in April 2013, we finally saw all the hard work pay off on a glorious summer weekend at Brailes Village Hall Oxon. I am tempted not to mention the location of the venue as it is a fabulous site, and the caretaker was so helpful, making sure we had everything to make the weekend a success. The only downside was that because of a prior booking we could not start the fun till midday on the Saturday – think what else we could have got up to had we started earlier! The aim of the weekend was to have fun, give spitz owners a chance to try out a number of canine activities and raise money for three charities, BARKS (local charity, Banbury Animal Rescue and Kindness Service), the AHT cataract research and the AHT epilepsy project – the AHT projects being of relevance to so many spitz breeds).
On the Saturday we set up our main ring sporting the fabulous SiTP banner donated by Tannahill Reay Visual Communications Limited for the Companion show judged by Hazel Fitzgibbon (Smilesam), who is a self-confessed spitzaholic! Her BIS was a Swedish Vallhund, RBIS was a Schipperke, and BPIS was a Japanese spitz I believe at her first ever show. Then the Best Novelty was the winner of the prettiest bitch class, a Klee Kai and res was the veteran winner, a German Spitz. All class winners received trophies to keep and generous goodies from Cobby dog, plus of course rosettes to 5th and other goodies. During the afternoon we had agility demonstrations from Jennie Fairweather and her kind helpers, with opportunities to have a go for anyone. Unfortunately the terrific downpour which accompanied the storm, meant the agility was cut short. Inside we had Carol Mortimer and her lovely assistants doing HTM demos and guiding those wanting to have a go through some moves. As a last minute idea, Racheal Bailey brought her Canadian Eskimo Dogs & Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs along with a great bunch of helpers – to show us how to CaniX, and wow were they a hit. On the Sunday a number of people got brave and put on CaniX belts to have a go at running or power walking with the aid of either one of Racheal’s dogs or their own.
During the day our visiting KC Good Citizen examiner Andrew Wood put a number of dogs through the bronze Good Citizen test, and happy to report 13 bronze passes across the weekend. Once all the day’s activities were complete we pulled together the breeds represented together for a parade of the spitz breeds, special thanks to the Chow Chow exhibitors who came over especially ahead of the club show the next day to join this parade.
Saturday evening saw 12 teams of six entering the General knowledge quiz, which despite the alcohol imbibed was a closely fought competition and the quiz master had to resort to a tie breaker to split the top two teams, with the glory going to the aptly named Johnnie Walker Gold Label (a group of Finnish Lapphund owners), the losing team were presented with a wooden spoon and 6 rolls of toilet paper, to the winners a bottle of wine each.
On Sunday we packed in plenty, first another HTM demo from Carol and her team, lovely to see a GBGV going through a routine. Then Rachel Bradley and Gail Blair kindly gave a demonstration of Rally, and set out two courses for have a go opportunities. Then we were back with Racheal and the CaniX team to learn about how running with our dog makes you run faster. Andrew Wood was also back for more bronze GC testing and silver testing with 5 silver passes recorded between the FLs and keeshonds.
Throughout the weekend the Keeshond committee ran a well-stocked kitchen, such a wide range of cakes on offer – and local butcher supplied burgers, hot dogs, bacon butties and strawberries and cream throughout the day.
Then the highlight of the weekend the Spitzlympics. A team event for 6 which was a hilarious way to spend the afternoon, for competitors and supporters. The teams were put through 6 events and because we had 13 teams to run, we had heats and then finals for the five first races and a relay to finish. The first event was the “egg n spoon” – wooden hand carved oak eggs balance precariously on wooden spoons, and a dash to the line with dog on a lead by your side! Then we had musical downs, well we couldn’t get the music to work so was more the fastest down on command from Caron the ring master. Perhaps it’s unfair to say the final 4 were all Finnish Lapphunds! The eleven legged race produced a tumble here and there – two people tied together with a dog on each side for those trying to work out the maths! Won by the very competitive Canadian Eskimo dog team. The sack race is one that also saw wild dives, tumbles and rolls as the handlers lost their balance in an attempt to win the heats for their team and reach the final, one that definitely had the spectators laughing. The sausage eating race calmed it down a little – with the dogs having to eat a row of strategically places halved cocktail sausages down the track, a favourite event for many food loving spitz breeds, and certainly none were wasted. The finale was a team relay – each team member having to carry a beaker filled to brim with water, up and back the running track – holding the lead of their dog in the same hand as the full beaker – a real test of the good walkers! In many cases not much water came back – but the event was thoroughly enjoyed by all and fiercely contested as it carried double points. As the day drew to a close the points were added up and Team Backburner were pronounced the winners and were rewarded with goodies kindly donated by Burgess Foods. With grateful thanks to our other generous supporters, Fish4Dogs, Harringtons Pet Food, Stones Active Dogs, Natures Menu and Mariner's Choice, we were able to reward the top five teams with goodies.
Our finale was the super stocked raffle, thanks to the generosity of Rovtech Systems Ltd we had some £200 of electrical good to raffle – and with the super support of our food suppliers and friends it was indeed an amazing, almost never ending raffle.
It is too soon to give the final amount raised from the event, as we have banking and expenses to sort – but it was a highly successful event financially (indications are close to £1000) and perhaps just as importantly it was a fun packed event where lots of new friendships were made and we all got to learn about the other breeds as well as other canine hobbies/sports. No sooner had we cleared away – Facebook was alive with messages begging us to run again…. Watch this space as they say…….